My Top 50 Albums Of 1985: 50-41

By less than popular demand, here's the first installment of my Top 50 Albums of 1985 based on solely on my opinions and experiences after listening to the albums in their entirety any time or multiple times between 1985 and 2015.  Click on an album title in box below to listen via Spotify.

49Rhythm And RomanceRoseanne Cash
48Oil & GoldShriekback
47Dream Of The Blue TurtlesSting
46In Square CircleStevie Wonder
45The FirmFirm
44Fables Of The ReconstructionR.E.M.
43Dare To Be StupidWeird Al Yankovic
42Here's To Future DaysThompson Twins
41CenterfieldJohn Fogerty

If not for my good friend Mark, I would have no idea who The Judy's were but he indoctrinated me and as both a native Texan and a fan of really good music, I was susceptible.  The Judy's embody the best of what I like about Devo, The B-52's, XTC and Squeeze.  Wish I had heard of them back in 1985 and had the chance to witness them live.  

My love for the music of Rosanne Cash is documented elsewhere and the standout tracks for me on Rhythm and Romance are "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me" and the cover of Tom Petty's "Never Be You", which had been initially recorded by Maria McKee for inclusion on the Streets Of Fire soundtrack album.  Both of Cash's songs topped the country chart though they could have easily passed for pop or adult contemporary songs - the vocals are on point, no artificial sweeteners or hey y'all, I'm from the South twang and the music lacks any clichéd country accoutrement (mandolin, fiddle or steel guitar) up front.

The first line of Shriekback's biographical entry sums them up: "Shriekback is not an easy band to classify."  I came across the band's unique sound in two steps, from two sources: one was the Sunday night New Music Test Department on KLPX which played "Nemesis" in 1985 and the second was the moody "This Big Hush" and the equally exotic "Coelocanth" in the 1986 film Manhunter.  I played Oil & Gold mostly as wild and varying background music and despite the lack of critical and concentrated listening, some of the songs are forever lodged within the wrinkly mass that lurks just beneath my cranium.
Sting left the Police only to sound just like The Police?  I was bitter at his betrayal and not fond of this album for years and years.  But then I matured a bit, forgave some old misheld grievances and got on with my life.  You might say I removed the fortress around my heart.

Dismissed by others as beneath a man of his talents, I have adored "Part-Time Lover" since Day One.  Fortunately for me, my lady pal (then and now) enjoyed the song as well and she splurged for both the album and the gloriously repetitive twelve inch dance single featuring Luther Vandross.  As catchy and addictive as "Part-Time Lover" is, "Overjoyed" is effortlessly beautiful featuring smartly romantic lyrics and an instantly hummable melody.  We caught his tour on June 30, 1986.

The Firm transcended their much-hyped supergroup label on exactly two songs on their debut album: the rocking "Radioactive" and the hypnotic "Satisfaction Guaranteed".  Thirty years after the fact, I am nearly distracted by how solid and prominent the bass lines are on those two songs in particular.  A 23 year old Tony Franklin, in his first major gig, laid the groove down deep.
My friend Steven is the biggest Pink Floyd and R.E.M. fan I have ever known and as such I never really bought any of the those group's albums until after he moved out of town.  He let me borrow whatever I wanted and I borrowed this one shortly after it was released along with Reckoning, which I had ignored the year before.  Put them both on a tape and repeated listenings confirmed Fables as the stronger album of the two.
Been a Weird Al fan since hearing "Another One Rides The Bus" in 1982 on the local rock station and saw him in concert twice: July 18, 1985 and July 1, 1987.  I think the Dare To Be Stupid album came out about a month before that first show, which was absolutely awesome.  The band was tight and played all my favorites.
Also saw Thompson Twins and O.M.D. in concert in 1986 on tour behind their 1985 album which was no Into The Gap.  The show was a good one mainly because of my date, the lovely lady who would become my wife in 1987.  She remains a huge fan of the Twins music and the sole reason I acquired the five 2008 double disc Expanded Editions of the group's albums - I could get by with a single disc compilation but my Baby gets EVERYTHING.
My Dad was a big CCR fan so it seemed only natural that I would like Fogerty's solo stuff and I did.  This was the man's third solo album and I remember the frivolous lawsuits that it stirred up almost as much as my favorite songs "The Old Man Down The Road" and "Rock And Roll Girls".


  1. I too am a Thompson Twins fan and thought Here's To Future Days had a tough act to follow. I also got the 2008 set which, at times, can be a bit of overkill. Still, nice to have that rare stuff saved for posterity.

  2. Good show! I've only heard half these albums, but those five ended up on my list of top albums of '85 as well.

  3. I liked Sting and The Firm's album back then. I haven't heard The Firm's album in a long time, it maybe worth listening to again. As for IN SQUARE CIRCLE, I was never interested in it but always liked "Go Home", that one has held up for me. I'll have to open my mind and give it a chance.